San Juan Islands Tour & Orca Whale Watch
The San Juan Islands come back to life in the early spring months. The weather in the San Juan Islands stays mild allowing fabulous cruising through early fall.
The Southern Resident Orca Whales now number 81+. As adults they range in size from 20 to 35 feet and weigh 5 to 9 tons. There were several new calves born in 2015. The new calves weigh about 300 pounds at birth. The resident orca whales are grouped in their matriarch families, designated pods J, K, and L. They start returning from the Pacific Ocean in April and generally stay in the San Juan Islands area through the first two weeks of October. Every so often during the summer they leave for a few days and follow the salmon out to the ocean.
Besides our Orca and Minke Whales returning for the season, the Gray Whales and Steller Sea Lions can often be seen as they migrate back to Alaska. The Alaska Stellar Sea Lions are normally only in the San Juans in April and May and then again in September and October. Females weigh in at a mere 800-1200 pounds, the males tip the scales between 2000-2400 pounds. The Alaska Steller Sea Lions are a phenomenal site! Besides viewing these magnificent creatures, you can also hear a symphony of roars, growls, and grumbles if you are lucky.
On our three day, two night trips we achieved a 100% sighting rate. If one of your main goals is to see the Orca Whales in their natural habitat, April and May are good and June through September are excellent. Our favorite month is September as the whales are in their more active mating season and the Steller Sea Lions have returned. The weather in September is usually still in the 60s and 70s and the sunsets are exceptional.
Your Itinerary – Depart from Anacortes or Langley, WA
10:00 AM – Your 3 day, 2 night fully narrated tour of the protected calm waters of the sunny San Juan Islands adventure begins in Anacortes, Washington when you board the 100 ft. Mystic Sea.
11:00 AM – Lunch is served onboard while cruising through the Padilla Bay Wildlife preserve. You may view a myriad of birds and seals while on your way by the seaport town of La Conner, Washington. After passing La Conner, the Mystic Sea continues down the Swinomish Channel and out through Deception Pass. Here your world opens up to the San Juan Islands. You will enjoy your afternoon cruising through the San Juan Islands to Friday Harbor or Rosario Resort while having cocktails.
4:00 PM – Arrive in Friday Harbor or Rosario Resort. Disembark the Mystic Sea and be shuttled to your room, where your luggage awaits you. You can shop, explore the area, and enjoy a restful night’s sleep.
8:30 AM – Board the Mystic Sea and enjoy a continental breakfast during a short 1.5 hour wildlife cruise to Spieden Island. This island is referred to as “Safari Island” by the locals. It is home to 200-300 exotic game animals including: Spotted African Deer, Prong Horned Deer, Dahl Sheep, Mongolian Deer, and Gazelles.
10:00 AM – Arrive in Roche Harbor where you will disembark the Mystic Sea and board a bus for a 1.5 hour narrated tour of San Juan Island. During this tour you will visit an alpaca farm, lavender fields, and the oldest light house station in the San Juans, which is now an orca whale land-based view point.
12:00 PM – Board the Mystic Sea and enjoy a Dungeness crab feed luncheon while cruising the Southern San Juan Islands for an Orca, Minke whale watch. On your cruise, you may see Bald Eagles, Puffins, Cormorants, Seals, Harbor Porpoise, Dall’s Porpoise, and Steller Sea Lions.
4:30 PM – Return to Friday Harbor or Rosario Resort for a shopping spree or relax and have time on your own. If you are staying at Rosario Resort your group may book a private organ concert with Christopher Peacock, who puts on a fantastic concert and historic slide show in the historic museum. This is well worth the extra cost.
8:30 AM – Board the Mystic Sea for a continental breakfast which you will be served while en route to the majestic Cone Islands, past an Atlantic salmon fish farm. While on your journey, 11:30 AM, you will be served homemade brownies.
1:00 PM – Return to Anacortes, Washington and disembark the Mystic Sea to continue your journey on land.
This schedule may be changed so your group may be dropped off in Friday Harbor where you can connect in the afternoon with the Washington State Ferry or the Victoria Clipper to continue your journey.
Mystic Sea Charters has a 30 person minimum and a 55 person maximum for this cruise.
2017 prices start at $795 per person. Cruises depart from Langley, WA, March and April. Cruises depart from Anacortes, WA, May through February. This price includes tax and gratuity, but does not include overnight lodging.
One complimentary ticket, with each group booking.
Have the organizer of your group give us a call to put together the perfect package to create memories of a lifetime.